Women in Public Security: Overcoming the Challenges!
Fatima Bawazier

Many public and private sectors around the world are experiencing an important shift in the way of thinking about and dealing with gender equality issues. The world is increasingly paying attention to the role of women in the fields of security and defense. Women are no longer just potential partners in maintaining public security, but have become partners who actively contribute to achieving gender balance in security efforts. 

Mona Saad Gharama, the Director of the Hadhramaut Coast Women's police, is an exceptional woman and an inspiring leader, who accepted the challenges and risks posed by the security field and won the title of the best shooter in a competition in which she was the only woman among 40 male officers.  

Gharama has a good reputation, due to her discipline, which had a positive impact on her colleagues, contributing to the achievement of common goals in their work. 

Marked Improvement 

In 2001, Gharama had her first experiences in the world of the police, where she applied for a six-month training course in Sanaa and graduated as part of the first batch of female police officers in the Republic of Yemen. The presence of the female component in many work facilities such as the passport department, airports, ports, civil status, and the role of reform became a necessity. At that time 14 women from Hadhramaut graduated including Gharama, and were distributed to various security facilities. 

"There is an increase in the enrollment of women, especially university graduates in the security service, compared to 14 women in the past, we have 282 military women in Hadhramaut Coast under the scope of women's police work" says Gharama. 

These improvements reflect several social and cultural changes: As the recognition of women's rights and empowerment is increasing, the acceptance of women's participation in areas that were traditionally reserved for men now has become a "must".  Security leaders realize the importance of diversity in the ranks of the security forces, which adds new capabilities and skills to security work, as women have special abilities in dealing with women's issues and providing protection and safety for women and children in society.  

Fatima Basinqab is a law graduate who joined the military three years ago as an administrator in the Criminal Investigation Department. She was trained before joining the job by several training courses in investigation, its methods and laws. Her legal background was useful to her at work and she was able to absorb it quickly. 

About the society's view of her work, Basinqab says: "People are still uncomfortable with security, so I hid my work from neighbors and close people, and no one knew about my work except my mother, who encouraged me and my brother, even my father when I decided to do this work, I was afraid of the idea of rejection, but in the end he accepted it and was supportive of me"

Basinqab worked in the field of raids and her tasks were to deal with women and children, collect evidence records according to the rules of investigation. She was trained at the University and Criminal Investigation Department. 

No Promotion! 

Despite the marked improvements there are still challenges to women's engagement in the security sector in conservative societies such as Yemen, including cultural restrictions and social traditions, as military women suffer from marginalization and inequality due to these restrictions. 

Some military personnel consider their female subordinates to be unable to take over security matters properly, so men are preferred to go in any security operation, even if women are required for security in this process. 

Military women continue to suffer from a lack of promotion in the military ranks. Promotion is not easy in a professional manner according to the career ladder, but they must pursue their promotion and tire to obtain it. 

This situation prompted Gharama to say with regret: "Some commanders only want military women to perform marginal jobs, such as being a cook in a camp, a reporter, or a janitor, but to wear military uniforms, train, qualify, ry duties is impossible." During her 23 years of work, Mona was bullied, excluded from external training and  qualifications that her male colleagues received. However, this did not stop her from continuing to progress and she enrolled at the University remotely to get a bachelor's degree in law. She was able to efficiently reach the position of female police director, but she did not receive the promotion she deserved like her male colleagues.  

She is supported in this by Tafida Al-Sukuti a Senior Assistant, who has not been promoted since 2009, and emphasizes that military women are oppressed in equality, promotions, duties, and even intangible powers of military women. 

Two batches of the Police College in the Hadhramaut Coast have been devoid of any presence of women since its opening in 2015. 

Regarding the reasons for this and the constant need for military women, we tried to contact the Dean of the Police College, Brigadier-General Salem Al-khanbashi, to inquire about the matter, but we could not reach him. 

Insufficient View 

Besides having to hide their military work, others are waiting for the opportunity to stop and look for work that takes them out of the insufficient  social view, just like Lieutenant Arwa Al-Akbari, who acts as a journalist in the moral guidance of the Hadhramaut Coast.  

"If there is another opportunity in the civilian field, I will leave the military work immediately, as society still has a  narrow view of military women, as immoral accusations are made against policewomen or those who work in the army, because of their lack of awareness of the importance of her presence in this place "Al-Akbari said. 

Promoting gender balance in the military and security field remains not only the responsibility of governments and institutions, but it also requires the active participation and support of the entire society.  

Investing in empowering women and encouraging them to engage in public security is an investment in a more sustainable future for all and this will only be done with society's understanding of the need for women to work in the security field as well as with the existence of a military academy for women on a complete methodological basis.  

The Ministry of Interior website quoted a statement by Brigadier General Alia Saleh, General Director of Family Protection and Women's Police, in which she confirmed that the establishment of the women's police school in Yemen is the first nucleus for training female security officers. She pointed out that the school is working on graduating courses for female officers and personnel, who are distributed to various police departments in the provinces, stressing that there is no difference between women and men in all sectors, whether departments of police immigration and passport branches. 

The director of the women's police in Hadhramaut Coast, the Senior Assistant Mona Saad Gharama, hopes that a camp will be allocated for women to supervise, train and qualify them so that they can perform their tasks in policing and establishing community peace to the fullest.  

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